Afraad (The Fourth Brigade) (Somali: Afraad, Arabic: افراد‎) was one of the major units of the Western Somali Liberation Front and was composed of officers originating from north Somalia .[1] Afraad's initial objective was to liberate Somalis living in Somali Region of Ethiopia, but its focus later shifted due to increasing abuses against the north somali civilian population perpetrated by WSLF. Killing, looting and rape of civilians by WSLF was common from 1978 onwards.[2] This abuse was due to the Somali state employing the Ogadeni subsection of WSLF as a subsidiary militia that would be used to maintain control over the northern regions of Somalia.[3]

Afraad commander Mohamed Farah Dalmar Yusuf "Mohamed Ali"

Armed clashes between Afraad and the Ogaden forces of WSLF began shortly after 1979. An North Somali army officer arrested 14 leading WSLF fighters who have been harassing and abusing the local population at Gobyar.[2]

From February 1982, Isaaq army officers and fighters from the Fourth Brigade started moving into Ethiopia where they formed the nucleus of what would later become the Somali National Movement.[4]


  1. ^ Woldemariam, Michael (2018). Insurgent Fragmentation in the Horn of Africa. Cambridge University Press.
  2. ^ a b De Waal, Alexander (1991). Evil Days: Thirty Years of War and Famine in Ethiopia. Human Rights Watch.
  3. ^ Lewis, I. M (1994). Blood and Bone. Red Sea Press.
  4. ^ Zartman, Jacob Blaustein Professor of International Organization and Conflict Resolution and Director of African Studies I. William (1995). Collapsed States: The Disintegration and Restoration of Legitimate Authority. Lynne Rienner Publishers. ISBN 978-1-55587-560-2.